“Mulder, I think Bilac’s been tripping.” — Dana Scully
Our intrepid agents investigate deaths that occur after an ancient artifact is brought to Boston via South America. Something something… killer cats?
Radhika: You know how the previous episode, “Pusher,” is one of those memorable episodes that people often refer to as one of their favorites of all time? You know how so many awesome things in general happen in season three? You know how The X-Files is awesome?
Well, “Teso dos Bichos” is that episode that might make you change your mind about everything. It’s an episode so terrible that even the cast and crew greatly hated it. It is quite possibly one of the worst episodes of all time, and I pity anyone who watched this episode first and I would honestly not blame that person for never watching the show again.
I’m barely going into the plot of this, because the idea of giving actual thought to this waste-of-space episode is utterly painful. I mean, I actually started it, thinking, “You know, it’s not half as bad as I remember…” But then it’s just painfully boring and the big scary climax involves CATS. And yes, I know cats are probably plotting to kill us all, but this just about sums it up:
Some urn containing the remains of a female shaman is removed from Ecuador and winds up in the U.S., where it obviously doesn’t belong. So obviously, people start dying, thanks to some jaguar spirit. Death, death, suspicion, and the usual nonsense follow. At the very end, Mulder and Scully are attacked by feral cats.
Not liver-eating monsters, little green men or death fetishists — just feral cats. Meow.
Yeah, whatever. The agents survive because this would be the lamest way for them to die and the urn goes back home, and some mysterious glowing eye thing happens at the end, and you wish that this episode of The X-Files had never existed and find yourself wondering why the hell you bothered rewatching it for your rewatch blog when this is the best “review” you have to offer.
Max: In our last post I brought up the classic pulp hero The Shadow, so I find it apropos to mention another of contemporary vintage here. In “Teso Dos Bichos,” the story is like something that would happen if extraterrestrials were to write something (and badly I might add) for Lee Falk’s The Phantom.
There is absolutely nothing redeeming in this episode. Nothing.
Well, there is a piece in the season 3 gag reel where David spars with one of the fake cats used because the real “Hollywood trained” cats wouldn’t take direction and instead of attacking on cue they sat on their asses. You see, even the cats knew what a stinker this episode was!!!!
It’s also fun to note that Gillian revealed to the producers during production of this episode that she was severely allergic to cats. Thus, the climactic cat attack had to be scaled down drastically, and her stand in was used in several shots.
It speaks to how craptastic this episode is that the production details and behind the scenes information about it are more interesting than the episode itself.
Random thought: At this stage of the game, which MOTW is worse, the feral Jersey Devil or the jaguar spirt in the episode???
There are other episodes in the series that I think are worse than this one (which may surprise you if you rewatched this one before you read this post), but for a series at the height of its powers, releasing an episode of such dubious quality is massively frustrating.
Here’s to hoping I will never have the occasion to watch this one ever again.